Sprinter runs in fast lane
Morgan Christensen hasn't lost a 200-metre race in 23 months
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Jul 28, 2012 06:00 am
The runaway winner in the 200 metres streaks into the Legion Canadian Youth Track and Field Championships undefeated for 23 months in the event.
Sixteen-year-old Morgan Christensen of St. Albert hasn’t lost a 200m race since the 2010 Legion nationals.
“It’s a big accomplishment for me,” Christensen said. “I want to keep that undefeated title for as long as I can.”
The winning streak spans more than 30 outdoor and indoor races for the Edmonton Olympic Track and Field Club athlete.
“When you’re undefeated in an event like that it shows how much training can really pay off if you keep going every day and do exactly what your coach tells you,” she said. “It also shows that no matter how hard you try you can’t fail.”
Christensen’s outdoor workouts consist of two-hour daily sessions five days a week under the tutelage of Ian Harriott, her sprint coach for two years and a former 400m competitor and assistant coach at Auburn University.
“I just follow the program that my coach has given me,” said Christensen, who describes herself as a fast finisher.
“My family calls me a bit of a freight train; I just keep picking up speed the further the distance.”
She hasn’t lost a step since moving up into the U18 division this year.
“You get stronger with age and faster with age but everyone around is training really hard too so the older you get the harder it is to keep up,” she said.
The 2011 Athletics Alberta midget female athlete of the year prefers running the 200m outside regardless of the weather conditions.
“It’s harder to run the 200 indoors because there are two corners,” she said. “Outdoors I find it a lot easier because it’s just one big corner and a straightaway.”
The Grade 11 Bellerose Composite High School student will also run the 100m at Legion nationals, Aug. 17 to 19 in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
“I’m hoping to accomplish a personal best in the 100. I’m not really looking for placement but it would be cool if I podium,” she said. “In the 200 I think I have a good chance of podium and it would be really awesome if I actually got first again.”
Christensen’s winning time last year in the U16 final was 25.06 seconds. She also placed first in the 300m at 39.89.
Two years ago Christensen was one of the few first-year midgets in Alberta to make standards for Legions nationals. She finished fifth in the 100m and 200m and placed 12th in shot put.
This year she established personal bests of 12.29 in the 100m at the recent Western Canada Midget Youth Championships in Medicine Hat and 24.45 in the junior female 200m at the provincial high school championships in June at Foote Field.
The 200m gold-medal victory was 1/100th of a second off the 1981 provincial high school record held by Jillian Richardson of Calgary.
“I knew what the record was and my coach said if I really wanted it I could get really close, if not set it. I was trying to set it but being close to that is a good accomplishment and I’m really proud of it,” said Christensen, the 100m silver medallist at high school provincials at 12.44.
At westerns Christensen extended her winning ways in the 200m with a 25.12 showing and ran the anchor in the 4x100m for Alberta’s gold-medal U18 relay team.
It’s been a season to remember so far for Christensen.
“The highlight for outdoors this year was making Legion nationals and being so close to that high school provincial record,” she said. “It was a really big accomplishment just to see how far I’ve come in my journey.”